On My Mind: Immediate Action Cards

All you new S.H.E.™'s are probably reeling from trying to set up your card file, organize closets, cupboards and drawers, and get your house clean (just once!)! Today's essay introduces the Immediate Action Card--in this writer's humble opinion, the single best concept Pam and Peggy have had!

An Immediate Action Card is different from your S.H.E. or Happiness File cards. Those cards control the repetitive, continuing tasks that have to be done to keep your house and your life under control.

But what about those little one-time pesky chores? You know, those little "gotta-do's" that occur to you thirty seconds after your tired head hits the pillow at night? How do you fit them into your card file system? With an On My Mind List and an Immediate Action Card!

This concept is described in full in the Happiness File, Chapter 4, pp 67-77--but I'll give you the Condensed Books version!

Pick a time once each week. You'll want to have 15-30 quiet minutes, because you'll be thinking! I like to make my list first thing Monday morning--but you can do it anytime, just so you do it.

Take out a piece of notebook paper (we hope you have your S.H.E.™ notebook--with paper--but we know S.H.E.™'s, don't we? So filch one from the schoolkids!).

Now, write down everything, big or small, problem or praise, that is on your mind. Don't think about each item, just write it down, one problem per line.

One of my lists might look like this:

  • Renew driver's license
  • I'm too fat!
  • Call for dentist appt.
  • My nails look terrible!
  • Call altar guild florist
  • Return dance decoration
  • Pay bills

When you run out of steam, you're ready to take action. For each item, write in the margin the type of action you need to take.

Some are easy! You'll write "call" next to the dentist and florist entries. Put "do" next to chores you've been putting off: paying bills, return decorations.

For more general problems, like "I'm too fat", you'll need to address that in your daily routines, so put "routine" down next to that. Some need money to get done, so put down $$.

Next, take out a white 3X5 card, turn it longways, and write "Immediate Action Card" and the date at the top. Then use your list to write categories: To Do, To Go, To Call.

My Immediate Action Card might look like this:


To Do:

Pay bills

To Go:

DMV drivers' license
Church (return decorations)

To Call:


Just writing these peskies down usually motivates me to make most of the calls right away!

Stand the card on end (so that it sticks up) in today's divider in your card file. Check it each day and do one or two of the jobs. As you do each one, cross it off--and when you're finished, scrawl "Success!" and the date across the whole thing, and file in your personal divider.

Take Immediate Action . . . to get organized!